Kate Shipp-Roberts, head coach of St. Helena High’s varsity girls’ basketball team, has been pleased with her team’s competitive spirit and improvement throughout this season.
Both were on display during the Saints’ season finale a 57-30 home loss to Cloverdale High last Thursday, Feb. 15.
The Eagles cruised to a 33-13 halftime lead and never looked back. Cameryn Figueroa led the Eagles with 17 points.
Meanwhile, Citlali Garcia paced the Saints with a game-high 20 points. Andrea Hernandez added eight points and Lisa Lord capped the scoring with two points.
Despite the fact the Saints won just two games and didn’t win a single one in the North Central League I this season, Shipp-Roberts understands a team’s improvement is not solely measured by results on the scoreboard.
“We’ve had a theme all year about it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish – especially now,” Shipp-Roberts explained after the game. “(From) the first time we played Cloverdale (this season), obviously you want to improve since then, and they have.”
Shipp-Roberts, who completed her first year at the helm of the varsity program, said she tried to drive the point home in a pregame speech to her team.
The coach’s message of giving your best effort and having no regrets at the end of each and every game was amplified by the fact it was the final game for the team’s lone senior, Destiny Camacho.
Camacho, along with her sister, were honored during a short pregame ceremony.
“Destiny is just a wonderful, wonderful young lady, and I didn’t really know her very well last year, her being on varsity and (me coaching) JV” Shipp-Roberts said of Camacho. “She is just one of those kids you are never going to forget. Her smile is contagious. She has the biggest heart. I think she’s going to do well in whatever life throws at her. And I’m very blessed to be able to coach her.”
Shipp-Roberts acknowledged her team faced its share of adversity this season. A case in point was having just five players on the active roster for the last several games of the season thanks to a pair of season-ending injuries to Blayney Adamson and Marylu Avina.
But the coach firmly believes the resolve and determination shown by Camacho, Lord, Hernandez, Lauren Ridgway and Garcia will not only pay dividends for the Saints’ girls basketball program next year, but beyond that, will benefit everyone who has endured this season individually in the future.
It was a point Shipp-Roberts emphasized during her postgame speech in the locker room.
“I told them they were a group of extraordinary young ladies,” Shipp-Roberts said, “and that it takes a special person to do what they’ve done. And playing with five (players) is not the ideal situation. But wherever they go in life they are going to remember this and it’s going to make them a better person for what they do next whether it be school, job, and just the fact that they're not quitters. They hang in when the time is tough. And that shows a lot of character.”
Cloverdale JV 51, St. Helena 22
Daphne Steele, who left the game in the third quarter with a broken wrist, paced the Saints’ offensive attack with eight points.